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Staffer accused of stealing items from evidence

The Oklahoman, City Edition, NEWS METRO/STATE NORTH; Pg. 21A

McLoud, OK

McLOUD - A police dispatcher is accused of stealing drugs from a police evidence locker.

Tracy Loveland, of McLoud, was charged Tuesday in Pottawatomie County District Court with drug possession and larceny of a controlled drug.

Patrick Vance, investigator for the Pottawatomie County District Attorney's Office, said Loveland was caught Saturday by a McLoud police officer with an evidence bag of marijuana. Loveland said the drugs had been in a padlocked locker used to temporarily store evidence until it's inventoried and put in the department's evidence room.

The officer reported finding in Loveland's purse a plastic bag with the word "evidence" scribbled on it and three grams of marijuana.

About 50 pills, two cell phones, cameras, a flashlight and other items that belonged to the department were found in her car, police reported.

Vance thinks the theft is an isolated incident.

The department is moving to another building, and under normal circumstances theft would be more difficult.

District Attorney Richard Smothermon said it doesn't appear the alleged theft will affect any pending criminal cases.

He ordered an independent audit of items in the evidence room and all related to ongoing cases were accounted for.

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